From sun-kissed romantic snaps on their luxury yacht to facing life behind bars in Fiji over '$20M drug ring': How a disgraced horse trainer and his wife 'pretended to be on the trip of their lifetime' before their boat was raided

A disgraced Australian horse trainer and his wife claimed to be on a romantic trip of a lifetime when Fiji police swooped on their luxury yacht and smashed an alleged $20million drug ring. 

John Nikolic, 45, is fighting for life in hospital after reportedly drinking a toxic substance following his arrest, while his wife Yvette is behind bars charged with importing millions of dollars' worth of cocaine and firearms.

Fiji Police allege 13 bars of cocaine and ecstasy tablets were last week found aboard their boat, Shenanigans, along with US$15,000 of undeclared cash, guns and ammunition.

Yvette is said to have begged the magistrate in court on Monday to let her see her critically ill husband at Lautoka hospital, amid reports he had attempted to self-harm.

In the lead up to their arrest, the pair posted dozens of loved-up snaps aboard their yacht, sharing their adventures at sea as they sailed from South America en route to Queensland, predicting 'good things were on their way'. 

John Nikolic (right) and his wife Yvette (left) claimed to be on a romantic getaway when Fiji police swooped on their luxury yacht and smashed an alleged $20million drugs and guns ring

Fijian authorities are seen searching the vessel following the arrest of the Nikolics and two others

Yvette begged the magistrate in court on Monday to let her see her critically ill husband at Lautoka hospital

'And we're off. Just the two of us. See ya Columbia! Panama we're coming for you,' they wrote on Facebook early in their voyage, including a 'feeling positive' emoji in the post.

'Bye bye Panama and bye bye land for about four weeks. Pacific Ocean bound,' the pair later wrote, with several friends urging them to 'stay safe'. 

RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Five top horse trainers and three stablehands found guilty... Disgraced horse trainer fights for his life after... Share this article Share

Pictures showed the couple fishing and sun baking as they visited numerous islands in French Polynesia, before heading towards Denerau in Fiji earlier this month.

It is believed the pair had planned to travel from the South Pacific archipelago before setting sail for the Gold Coast, Queensland, where they are based. 

'And we're off. Just the two of us. See ya Columbia! Panama we're coming for you,' the pair wrote on Facebook. John Nikolic is pictured 

Fiji Police allege 13 bars of cocaine and ecstasy tablets were last week found aboard their boat, Shenanigans (pictured), along with US$15,000 of undeclared cash, guns and ammunition

In the lead up to their voyage, the Nikolics described themselves as 'newbie' sailors. 

'John and Yvette have been madly in love for 25 years. The love of sailing, however, is a new passion for both of them,' their Facebook page reads.

'This crazy plan has been in the works for about one-and-a-half years. We are newbie sailors and this is our first boat. Steep learning curve you say? Damn straight!'

The Nikolic family has previously seen its fair share of controversy.

In 2015, John Nikolic was banned from attending racecourses and attending Melbourne's casino following a series of scandals.

The pair posted dozens of loved-up snaps aboard their yacht (pictured)

In the lead up to their voyage, the Nikolics (pictured) described themselves as 'newbie' sailors

'We are newbie sailors and this is our first boat. Steep learning curve you say? Damn straight!' the pair posted

He was caught treating a horse with prohibited substance when he rubbed penetrene, a non-performance enhancing product, with an absorbent pad onto Wonderful Jester just moments before the horse won a race.

A year prior to this he was banned for 12 months from racecourses after the same horse tested positive for a prohibited substance, gabapentin.

John Nikolic was also questioned during the investigation into the 2011 murder of Victorian racing figure Les Samba, but was released without charge.

He is the brother of disgraced jockey Danny Nikolic, who was banned from riding in late 2012 for threatening behaviour towards racing stewards.

John Nikolic (pictured) was arrested after police allegedly seized drugs and guns on his boat in Fiji

The Shenanigans yacht is pictured before the police raid which allegedly uncovered a huge haul of drugs and gins 

In 2015, John Nikolic was banned from attending racecourses and attending Melbourne's casino following a series of scandals

Fijian customs chief Visvanath Das said Thursday's arrests were a testament to the commitment of the national police force. 

'I applaud the collaboration and efforts of our officers in successfully intercepting illicit drugs, undeclared currency and weapons,' he said.

The statement also said the arrests were a warning to foreign drug-smugglers.

Police commissioner Rusiate Tudravo said: 'This should send a strong warning to others that we have a close eye on our borders.' 

A Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said that they have consular staff providing assistance to the Nikolic family. 

Two others, understood to be a Frenchman and an American, were also arrested. 

For confidential support call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14. 

Fijian customs chief Visvanath Das said Thursday's arrests was a testament to the commitment of the national police force. An interior shot of the Nikolic's boat is pictured 

John Nikolic was questioned during the investigation into the 2011 murder of racing figure Les Samba (pictured with daughter Victoria and wife Deidre), but was released without charge

Nikolic is the brother of disgraced jockey Danny Nikolic (pictured), who was banned from riding in late 2012 for threatening behaviour towards racing stewards

Related Posts

Rustle these up with Rosemary: Chocolate fondants

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *